New paper: The Lightness of Management Learning

home_coverManagement Learning has just published a paper based on the work I did at UTS, on how Business Education is changing on the aftermath of the GFC. It contextualises the recent ‘creative’ turn in Business Education, offering critical insights about it. Here is the paper and in what follows you can read the abstract.

Lancione, M. and Clegg, S.R. (2014), The Lightness of Management Learning, Management Learning, DOI: 10.1177/1350507614526533

Design or integrated thinking increasingly features in discussion of the future of business education that seeks to innovate new models different from the functionalist, modernist silos of the past. The impact of the Global Financial Crisis and the attribution of responsibility for it, in part, to the conventional knowledge reproduced in Business Schools, have provided an incentive for innovation. The article reports a case study of one innovation process in a Business School, with the aim of investigating its basic tenets and questioning its assumptions. First, at a general level, we illustrate how Business Schools attempt to become more global, integrated and innovative; second, we elaborate the context of the research, showing how global ideas become translated into local institution by means of specific representational devices; and third, on the basis of the empirical material, we characterise the effects of these processes as one of ‘lightness’, defined not in terms of mass or density but the translucence of three relevant representational devices: curriculum, branding and building. Translucence poses critical issues for this model of management learning, but it may also offer opportunities for resistance to normalising tendencies.

New paper in City on Homelessness and Public institutions

The 'Emergenza Freddo' camp in Turin, 2010 (Photo ML)
The ‘Emergenza Freddo’ camp in Turin, 2010 (Photo ML)

City has recently published one of my paper on homelessness, from my 2010 fieldwork in Turin, Italy. The paper can be downloaded here, below is the abstract.

Lancione, M. (2014), Assemblages of care and the analysis of public policies on homelessness in Turin, Italy, City, 18:1, 25-40

This paper investigates the ways urban policies on homelessness are discursively framed and practically enacted in Turin, Italy. The notion of ‘assemblages of care’ is introduced to show how these policies contribute to the constitution of different experiences of homelessness, by means of their discursive blueprints and practical enactments. Relying on 10 months of ethnographic fieldwork, the paper questions four policies. Three of these interventions are found to have negative impacts on homeless people’s emotions and ways of life; the remaining policy, I argue, holds the potential to produce alternative assemblages and more positive engagement with the individuals encountered. The conclusion provides more general critical reflections on urban policy and homelessness.

New paper on the European Journal of Homelessness

The European Journal of Homelessness published a reworked version of what I wrote for the Nervemeter (a street-based magazine in London). It is a paper about re-thinking homelessness. The piece can be downloaded here: Lancione, M. (2013). How is Homelessness? European Journal of Homelessness, 7(2), 237–248.

The European Journal of Homelessness is a publication of FEANTSA – the European Federation of European Organisations Working with the Homeless. More info here.

 

 

New Paper: Entanglement of Faith (on Urban Studies)

A new paper of mine is available on Urban Studies (online first). The paper is entitled ‘Entanglements of faith: Discourses, practices of care and homeless people in an Italian City of Saints‘. It is about Faith-Base Organisations in Turin, and the work they do with homeless people. I am particularly fond of this paper: it summarises an important part of the research I did in Turin in 2010. Here is the link to download: http://usj.sagepub.com/content/early/2014/01/08/0042098013514620.abstract

If you can’t access Urban Studies, contact me and I’ll send it to you.

Abstract:

This paper investigates how Catholic-inspired services for homeless people are delivered in Turin, Italy. The purpose is to critically interrogate particular faith-based organisations’ moral discourses on homelessness, and to show how they are enacted through practices of care directed at the homeless subject. The paper contributes to the geographical literature on faith-based organisations addressing its shortcomings – namely the lack of critical and contextual focus on faith-based organisations’ ‘love for the poor’. To address this point, the paper takes a vitalist perspective on the urban and introduces the notion of the ‘entanglements of faith’, which allows an integrated and grounded perspective on faith-based organisations’ interventions. The outcomes of the work suggest that these faith-based organisations propose standardised services that, producing particular assemblages and affective atmospheres, have deep emotional and relational effects on their recipients. Further lines of research are sketched in the conclusions.

Context, subject, space. Some reflections on ethnography

I have been taking part to an ethnography panel with Barbara Czarniawska at UTS, on the 12th of November. The panel was good fun, providing some interesting reflections upon ethnographic practice and thought. Here there is my presentation – just some draft, and brief, notes – which can be also downloaded at this link.

2013_11_12

CMOS, UTS

Ethnography panel with Barbara Czarniawska

Hi everybody and thanks Nick and CMOS for having organized this, and Barbara for being here. This is my last gig at UTS so I hope to make it right. Before starting, I just want to add a special thank to Stewart, Liisa and all my colleagues, who have tolerated me in the last two years – well done to you.

Now, ethnography. In the 5 minutes I have I would like to say something about three concepts, or words, that are really important to me, for the way I do research – CONTEXT, SUBJECT, SPACE.

I will say something about these words trying to address two of the questions proposed by Nick:

  • How do we cope with blurred boundaries between real and virtual, the mundane and the cyber, the subject and the object of research?
  •  What does this mean for how we conceive the research ‘site’, how we conduct ourselves in the field, and the kind of stories we can tell as ethnographers?

The first question is about coping – how do we cope with the real and the unreal? This question is particularly relevant to me these days. The pictures show my flat yesterday afternoon. My flat could have been a CONTEXT of research, populated by SUBJECTS that are both humans (my partner, the movers, and I) and non-humans – hundreds of books on the floor, clothes inside plastic bags, furniture, rain, daylight, and the OSS’ boxes all around the place. My flat yesterday afternoon changed, it wasn’t my flat anymore, it was a different SPACE thanks to the different alignments of things taking place in there. It was different, yet repeated (in a sense, it still was my flat), yet different and repeated again by mean of flows, movements, organization, and things that can’t be predicted at all – which you can imagine by yourself if you have ever done an international shipment. So, how do we cope? How do we COPE with the intensity of SPACE? With its richness? With its history, its changes, and with the SPACE that is not yet here but is coming?

When I do ethnography the way I cope with this is to look for DIAGRAMS – for relations that can tell me something about how things assemble, get together, and disassemble, falling apart. Diagrams are not pre-constituted. They are not given. They change accordingly to the kind of subjects and contexts that one look at. Moreover, DIAGRAMS are fluid: they can’t be hold still – one needs to be ready to change idea and to let things go, to follow them rather than holding them, to explore, rather than to examine.

My research topics are cities. But I don’t like to represent cities – to put them in categories, to divide their parts and describe them as functional elements depending upon a clear structure. Rather, cities are matters of flows, as much as my flat. One cannot represent a city – one can only non-represent it: describing the momentarily diagrams that hold things together. Cities are mess of passions, politics, agencies – the way I COPE with them is to come at peace with the fact that I will never be able to find the overall key, but only partial points of view.

The other question is about “what does this mean”, how “we conduct ourselves in the field”, and what we can “tell”. I’ll be brief. These are two pictures taken from the contexts I am going to explore pretty soon: Ferentari, the Roma neighbourhood of Bucharest in Romania, and provisional settlements of political refugees in Rome.

These SPACES – with their contextual practices and materialities and their subjects – MEAN to me only one thing: POLITICS. The reason why I want to look within them is political: I want to let them express, to give them a non-judgmental voice, and to engage with the political stakeholders that bear responsibilities upon them. The meaning then is to find the non-evident diagrams of urban marginality in order to challenge both the canonical notions of urban marginality itself, and the policies built upon those canonical framings.

CONDUCT. There are three important things I will not do: I will not pretend to be one of the people I am about to investigate, although I will be living close to them; I will try to do not substitute their voice with mine; and I will not expose people and contexts without knowing that is politically right to do so. In the field I will essentially observe, take stuff, listen, and follow. I will let the field bringing me around: that’s how I will conduct. Perhaps naively, but openly.

TELL: This is the most relevant point to me. I am moving to the UK because I want to tell relevant stories. Both in the form of academic publishing and not – narrative writing and photography are other ways I will do so. This is part of the political meaning of doing ethnographic research. And if you ask me who decides what is relevant and what is not – well, it is me who decides so. All stories are relevant – one needs to find the one relevant to her or him. I feel I belong to those spaces, the marginal ones, or – better said – I feel I have a connection to them. That’s why is relevant to research them and speak about them.

CONTEXT, SUBJECT and SPACE are the three fluids that aliment my ethnographic research. I like to conclude with the following quote from Guattari, where he is referring to the relation between the self (who could be the researcher) and the social context (which is the field we choose to research about):

“The different components conserve their heterogeneity, but are nevertheless captured by a refrain which couples them to the existential Territory of my self”

(Guattari, 1995:17)

Ethnography for me is a way to do not reduce the heterogeneity of life, and to capture bits and pieces of those refrains, those diagrams, that somehow hold things together. It is not easy, but it’s good fun. Thanks.

CFP AAG 2014 – Assembling life at the margin – EXTENDED DEADLINE

 

logo_aag

EXTENDED DEADLINE (14th of November) for the session I am organising for the next AAG in Tampa. We already secured a panel – let’s make it double!

Call for Papers: Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting 2014, Tampa, Florida, April 8-12th

Organised by Michele Lancione (UTS, Sydney; Cambridge University from Feb. 2014)

Assembling life at the “margin”: Critical assemblage thinking and urban marginality

Ethnographers, sociologists and urban geographers have mainly looked at the city as the inanimate backdrop against which social, cultural, and economical marginality takes place. Although the literature provides examples of fine-grained and situated accounts of urban poverty and marginality (e.g. Desjarlais 1997; Gowan 2010), it still falls short in taking the urban machinery fully into consideration in the instantiation of life at the margin (Lancione 2013). What role does the urban play in the daily processes of marginalisation? How do more-than-human agencies (Farías and Bender 2010), affective atmospheres (Anderson 2012), resilient materialities (Chattopadhyay 2012), prosaic technologies (Swanton 2013), and the power of care (Darling 2011; DeVerteuil 2012), affect the life of marginalised people? What kind of policy insights can derive from taking the city back into our understanding of the above processes?

This CFP aims to shed new light on how urban marginalities come into being; how they are performed; and constructed/de-constructed in the relational entanglements between the self and the city. The aim is to investigate marginality not as a static condition that can be labelled a-priori (“the homeless”; “the poor”; “the refugee”; etc.) (Ruddick 1996), but to render it in its on-going nuanced development open to the more-than-human and the unpredictable (Bennett 2010). In this sense, one should always be speaking of becoming marginal, and being theoretically and empirically ready to welcome unpredictable changes (Anderson et al. 2012). From this standpoint it will then be possible to confront the normative categorisations that mostly inform public policy making, and provide empirical evidence to support a constructive critique of their drawbacks (Russell, Pusey, and Chatterton 2011). In this sense, we are interested in investigating marginality from an assemblage-like perspective to engage in a positive critical urbanism (McFarlane 2011), aimed at the identification of new possibilities and agencies, and also at the de-framing of canonical knowledge and policies (Amin 2012).

Potential topics include:

• Theorisation of critical assemblage theory and urban marginality
• Methodological insights on an assemblage-driven urban ethnography at the margin
• How does a vitalist approach to marginality differ from canonical scholarship?
• The production of more-than-human subjectivity at the margin
• Contesting categories through theoretical and empirical work
• Becoming marginal
• Passivity, disconnection, and urban marginality
• Power and assemblage theory

Please do not limit to these suggestions; we welcome abstracts with expansive interpretations of these topics and themes (in regards both to cities of the Global North and South). It is envisaged that an edited book proposal – on assembling life at the margin – may be crafted starting from the presented papers. To facilitate discussion, and to be considered for the book proposal, presenters will be encouraged to submit their draft papers to the Organiser at least two weeks prior the beginning of the AAG conference.

Please send proposed titles and abstracts of up to 250 words to Michele Lancione (michelelancione@gmail.com) by the 14th of November.

References

Amin, A. 2012. Land of Strangers. Cambridge: Polity press.
Anderson, B. 2012. “Affect and Biopower: Towards a Politics of Life.” Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 37 (1): 28–43.
Anderson, B., M. Kearnes, C. McFarlane, and D. Swanton. 2012. “On Assemblages and Geography.” Dialogues in Human Geography 2 (2): 171–189.
Bennett, J. 2010. Vibrant Matter. A Political Ecology of Things. Durham: Duke University Press.
Chattopadhyay, S. 2012. Unlearning the City. Infrastructure in a New Optical Field. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
Darling, J. 2011. “Giving Space: Care, Generosity and Belonging in a UK Asylum Drop-in Centre.” Geoforum 42 (4): 408–417.
Desjarlais, R. 1997. Shelter Blues: Sanity and Selfhood Among the Homeless. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
DeVerteuil, G. 2012. “Does the Punitive Need the Supportive? A Sympathetic Critique of Current Grammars of Urban Injustice.” Antipode 00 (00): no–no. doi:10.1111/anti.12001. http://doi.wiley.com/10.1111/anti.12001.
Farías, I., and T. Bender, ed. 2010. Urban Assemblages: How Actor- Network Theory Changes Urban Studies. London: Routledge.
Gowan, T. 2010. Hobos, Hustlers and Back-sliders: Homeless in San Francisco. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
Lancione, M. 2013. “Homeless People and the City of Abstract Machines. Assemblage Thinking and the Performative Approach to Homelessness.” Area 45 (3): 358–364.
McFarlane, C. 2011. “On Context.” City 15 (3-4): 375–388.
Ruddick, S. 1996. Young and Homeless in Hollywood. Mapping Social Identities. New York: Routledge.
Russell, B., A. Pusey, and P. Chatterton. 2011. “What Can an Assemblage Do?” City 15 (5): 577–583.
Swanton, D. 2013. “The Steel Plant as Assemblage.” Geoforum 44: 282–291.

 

CFP: ” Assembling life at the “margin”: Critical assemblage thinking and urban marginality”, AAG 2014, Tampa, Florida

logo_aag

I am organising this Call for Paper for the next AAG in Tampa. I look forward to receiving many excellent submissions 😉

Call for Papers: Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting 2014, Tampa, Florida, April 8-12th

Organised by Michele Lancione (UTS, Sydney; Cambridge University from Feb. 2014)

Assembling life at the “margin”: Critical assemblage thinking and urban marginality

Ethnographers, sociologists and urban geographers have mainly looked at the city as the inanimate backdrop against which social, cultural, and economical marginality takes place. Although the literature provides examples of fine-grained and situated accounts of urban poverty and marginality (e.g. Desjarlais 1997; Gowan 2010), it still falls short in taking the urban machinery fully into consideration in the instantiation of life at the margin (Lancione 2013). What role does the urban play in the daily processes of marginalisation? How do more-than-human agencies (Farías and Bender 2010), affective atmospheres (Anderson 2012), resilient materialities (Chattopadhyay 2012), prosaic technologies (Swanton 2013), and the power of care (Darling 2011; DeVerteuil 2012), affect the life of marginalised people? What kind of policy insights can derive from taking the city back into our understanding of the above processes?

This CFP aims to shed new light on how urban marginalities come into being; how they are performed; and constructed/de-constructed in the relational entanglements between the self and the city. The aim is to investigate marginality not as a static condition that can be labelled a-priori (“the homeless”; “the poor”; “the refugee”; etc.) (Ruddick 1996), but to render it in its on-going nuanced development open to the more-than-human and the unpredictable (Bennett 2010). In this sense, one should always be speaking of becoming marginal, and being theoretically and empirically ready to welcome unpredictable changes (Anderson et al. 2012). From this standpoint it will then be possible to confront the normative categorisations that mostly inform public policy making, and provide empirical evidence to support a constructive critique of their drawbacks (Russell, Pusey, and Chatterton 2011). In this sense, we are interested in investigating marginality from an assemblage-like perspective to engage in a positive critical urbanism (McFarlane 2011), aimed at the identification of new possibilities and agencies, and also at the de-framing of canonical knowledge and policies (Amin 2012).

Potential topics include:

• Theorisation of critical assemblage theory and urban marginality
• Methodological insights on an assemblage-driven urban ethnography at the margin
• How does a vitalist approach to marginality differ from canonical scholarship?
• The production of more-than-human subjectivity at the margin
• Contesting categories through theoretical and empirical work
• Becoming marginal
• Passivity, disconnection, and urban marginality
• Power and assemblage theory

Please do not limit to these suggestions; we welcome abstracts with expansive interpretations of these topics and themes (in regards both to cities of the Global North and South). It is envisaged that an edited book proposal – on assembling life at the margin – may be crafted starting from the presented papers. To facilitate discussion, and to be considered for the book proposal, presenters will be encouraged to submit their draft papers to the Organiser at least two weeks prior the beginning of the AAG conference.

Please send proposed titles and abstracts of up to 250 words to Michele Lancione (michelelancione@gmail.com) by October 16th, 2013. Selected abstracts will be accepted by October 18th in order to allow participants to meet the early bird registration deadline (October 23rd). The deadline will be then extended to the 15th of November, for the ones registering paying the full registration fees.

References

Amin, A. 2012. Land of Strangers. Cambridge: Polity press.
Anderson, B. 2012. “Affect and Biopower: Towards a Politics of Life.” Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 37 (1): 28–43.
Anderson, B., M. Kearnes, C. McFarlane, and D. Swanton. 2012. “On Assemblages and Geography.” Dialogues in Human Geography 2 (2): 171–189.
Bennett, J. 2010. Vibrant Matter. A Political Ecology of Things. Durham: Duke University Press.
Chattopadhyay, S. 2012. Unlearning the City. Infrastructure in a New Optical Field. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
Darling, J. 2011. “Giving Space: Care, Generosity and Belonging in a UK Asylum Drop-in Centre.” Geoforum 42 (4): 408–417.
Desjarlais, R. 1997. Shelter Blues: Sanity and Selfhood Among the Homeless. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
DeVerteuil, G. 2012. “Does the Punitive Need the Supportive? A Sympathetic Critique of Current Grammars of Urban Injustice.” Antipode 00 (00): no–no. doi:10.1111/anti.12001. http://doi.wiley.com/10.1111/anti.12001.
Farías, I., and T. Bender, ed. 2010. Urban Assemblages: How Actor- Network Theory Changes Urban Studies. London: Routledge.
Gowan, T. 2010. Hobos, Hustlers and Back-sliders: Homeless in San Francisco. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
Lancione, M. 2013. “Homeless People and the City of Abstract Machines. Assemblage Thinking and the Performative Approach to Homelessness.” Area 45 (3): 358–364.
McFarlane, C. 2011. “On Context.” City 15 (3-4): 375–388.
Ruddick, S. 1996. Young and Homeless in Hollywood. Mapping Social Identities. New York: Routledge.
Russell, B., A. Pusey, and P. Chatterton. 2011. “What Can an Assemblage Do?” City 15 (5): 577–583.
Swanton, D. 2013. “The Steel Plant as Assemblage.” Geoforum 44: 282–291.

 

New paper: Homeless People and City of Abstract Machines, in Area

area

Area has just published one of my paper on homelessness, which is an expanded version of the theoretical argument I was making in my PhD thesis. You can have a look at the paper here. Below you can find the abstract.

“Homeless people and the city of abstract machines. Assemblage thinking and the performative approach to homelessness”

The paper focuses on one central point of the ‘performative’ approach to homelessness that is still inadequately explored by the current literature: the conceptualisation of the relational entanglements between homeless people and the city. The argument is that only through a critical attention to these fluid and more-than-human details will we be able to re-imagine a different politics of homelessness. The paper, engaging with the work of Deleuze and Guattari as well as with critical assemblages thinking, proposes two concepts that are considered to be fundamental in this sense. First, assemblage, as a concept able to render the hybrid constituency of the individual within the city; and second, abstract machines, as a way to take into account the fluidity of power in affecting one’s own experience of homelessness. The approach proposed in the paper is illustrated through the presentations of original ethnographic material derived from ten months of ethnographic fieldwork in Turin, Italy. The paper concludes by suggesting that the abstract machine of homelessness can be tackled in at least two ways. First, re-working the institutional assemblages of care that produce stigmatising discourses and deep emotional effects. Second, liberating homeless people’s capacities and resources, which are currently poorly accounted by canonical literature and policies.